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A History of American Literature (2nd edition)


Author: Richard Gray

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


Publish Date: November 21, 2011

ISBN-10: 1405192283

Pages: 952

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

In this history of American literature, I have tried to be responsive to the immense changes that have occurred over the past forty years in the study of American literature. In particular, I have tried to register the plurality of American culture and American writing: the continued inventing of communities, and the sustained imagining of nations, that constitute the literary history of the United States. I have accumulated many debts in the course of working on this book. In particular, I would like to thank friends at the British Academy, including Andrew Hook, Jon Stallworthy, and Wynn Thomas; colleagues and friends at other universities, among them Kasia Boddy, Susan Castillo, Henry Claridge, Richard Ellis, the late Kate Fullbrook, Mick Gidley, Sharon Monteith, Judie Newman, Helen Taylor, and Nahem Yousaf; and colleagues and friends in other parts of Europe and in Asia and the United States, especially Saki Bercovitch, Bob Brinkmeyer, the late George Dekker, Jan Nordby Gretlund, Lothar Honnighausen, Bob Lee, Marjorie Perloff, and Waldemar Zacharasiewicz. Among my colleagues in the Department of Literature, I owe a special debt of thanks to Herbie Butterfield and Owen Robinson; I also owe special thanks to my many doctoral students. Sincere thanks are also due to Emma Bennett, the very best of editors, at Wiley-Blackwell for steering this book to completion, to Theo Savvas for helping so much and so efficiently with the research and preparation, and to Nick Hartley for his informed and invaluable advice on illustrations. Special thanks are also due to Brigitte Lee and Jack Messenger for, once again, proving themselves to be such thoughtful, meticulous, and creative copyeditors, and to my daughter Jessica for (also once again) making such a first-class job of proofreading and the compilation of the index. On a more personal note, I would like to thank my older daughter, Catharine, for her quick wit, warmth, intelligence, and understanding, and for providing me with the very best of son-in-laws, Ricky Baldwin, and two perfect grandsons, Izzy and Sam; my older son, Ben, for his thoughtfulness, courage, commitment, and good company; my younger daughter, Jessica, for her lively intelligence, grace, and kindness, as well as her refusal to take anything I say on trust; and my younger son, Jack, who, being without language, constantly reminds me that there are other, deeper ways of communicating. Finally, as always, I owe the deepest debt of all to my wife, Sheona, for her patience, her good humor, her clarity and tenderness of spirit, and for her love and support, for always being there when I need her. Without her, this book would never have been completed: which is why, quite naturally, it is dedicated to her.

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